Prospects for Cooperation
NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by Robert Beckman and J. Ashley Roach
Chapter 5: Piracy and armed robbery against ships in the ASEAN region: incidents and trends
Piracy and armed robbery against ships within Southeast Asia are on the rise. With the significant increase in in-transit attacks and tug hijackings, criminal group syndicates operating within the region have clearly demonstrated a greater degree of sophistication compared to typical maritime theft and robbery incidents. This chapter will first examine the transnational element to piracy and armed robbery at sea in the region and provide an operational overview of syndicates conducting such activities in both territorial waters and on the high seas. In this context, it will place emphasis on serious maritime crimes occurring within the region. Considering the serious situation in the waters off Somalia, one may ask whether there is a risk of replication in Southeast Asia where local syndicates might also adopt Somali pirate tactics. Thus, the second part of this chapter will also examine the current Somali pirate operations and consider the likelihood of local syndicates adopting similar modes of operation within Southeast Asian waters. For the purposes of this chapter, four general types of incidents will be discussed. First, piracy attacks that take place on the high seas (and the exclusive economic zone), as defined by article 101 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
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